Gregory J. Ordemann, Christopher J. Apgar, and Darrin H. Brager. 1/23/2019. “D-type potassium channels normalize action potential firing between dorsaland ventral CA1 neurons of the mouse hippocampus.” Journal of Neurophysiology, 121, Pp. 983-995.
Brandy N Routh, Rahul K Rathour, Michael E Baumgardner, Brian E Kalmbach, Daniel Johnston, and Darrin H Brager. 2017. “Increased transient Na +conductance and action potential output in layer 2/3 prefrontal cortex neurons of the fmr1 \textminus/ymouse.” The Journal of Physiology, 595, 13, Pp. 4431–4448. Publisher's Version Abstract
Layer 2/3 neurons of the prefrontal cortex display higher gain of somatic excitability, responding with a higher number of action potentials for a given stimulus, in fmr1\textminus/y mice.In fmr1\textminus/y L2/3 neurons,...
Chronic stress can be a precipitating factor in the onset of depression. Lentiviral-mediated knockdown of HCN1 protein expression and reduction of functional Ih produce antidepressant behavior. However, whether h-channels are altered in an animal model of depression is not known. We found that perisomatic HCN1 protein expression and Ih-sensitive physiological measurements were significantly increased in dorsal but not in ventral CA1 region/neurons following chronic unpredictable stress (CUS), a widely accepted model for major depressive disorder. Cell-attached patch clamp recordings confirmed that perisomatic Ih was increased in dorsal CA1 neurons following CUS. Furthermore, when dorsal CA1 Ih was reduced by shRNA-HCN1, the CUS-induced behavioral deficits were prevented. Finally, rats infused in the dorsal CA1 region with thapsigargin, an irreversible inhibitor of the SERCA pump, exhibited anxiogenic-like behaviors and increased Ih, similar to that observed following CUS. Our results suggest that CUS, but not acute stress, leads to an increase in perisomatic Ih in dorsal CA1 neurons and that HCN channels represent a potential target for the treatment of major depressive disorder.Molecular Psychiatry advance online publication, 18 April 2017; doi:10.1038/mp.2017.28.
Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is caused by transcriptional silencing of the fmr1 gene resulting in the loss of fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP) expression. FXS patients display several behavioral phenotypes associated with prefrontal cortex (PFC) dysfunction. Voltage-gated ion channels, some of which are regulated by FMRP, heavily influence PFC neuron function. Although there is evidence for brain region-specific alterations to the function a single type of ion channel in FXS, it is unclear whether subtypes of principal neurons within a brain region are affected uniformly. We tested for alterations to ion channels critical in regulating neural excitability in two subtypes of prefrontal L5 pyramidal neurons. Using somatic and dendritic patch-clamp recordings, we provide evidence that the functional expression of h-channels (I h) is down-regulated, whereas A-type K(+) channel function is up-regulated in pyramidal tract-projecting (PT) neurons in the fmr1-/y mouse PFC. This is the opposite pattern of results from published findings from hippocampus where I h is up-regulated and A-type K(+) channel function is down-regulated. Additionally, we find that somatic Kv1-mediated current is down-regulated, resulting in increased excitability of fmr1-/y PT neurons. Importantly, these h- and K(+) channel differences do not extend to neighboring intratelencephalic-projecting neurons. Thus, the absence of FMRP has divergent effects on the function of individual types of ion channels not only between brain regions, but also variable effects across cell types within the same brain region. Given the importance of ion channels in regulating neural circuits, these results suggest cell-type-specific phenotypes for the disease.
Natasha M Sosanya, Darrin H Brager, Sarah Wolfe, Farr Niere, and Kimberly F Raab-Graham. 2015. “Rapamycin reveals an mTOR-independent repression of Kv1.1 expression during epileptogenesis..” Neurobiology of disease, 73, Pp. 96–105. Publisher's Version Abstract
Changes in ion channel expression are implicated in the etiology of epilepsy. However, the molecular leading to long-term aberrant expression of ion channels are not well understood. The mechanistic/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a serine/threonine protein kinase that mediates activity-dependent protein synthesis in neurons. mTOR is overactive in epilepsy, suggesting that excessive protein synthesis may contribute to the neuronal pathology. In contrast, we found that mTOR activity and the microRNA miR-129-5p reduce the expression of the voltage-gated potassium channel Kv1.1 in an animal model of temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE). When mTOR activity is low, Kv1.1 expression is high and the frequency of behavioral seizures is low. However, as behavioral seizure activity rises, mTOR activity increases and Kv1.1 protein levels drop. In CA1 pyramidal neurons, the reduction in Kv1.1 lowers the threshold for action potential firing. Interestingly, blocking mTOR activity with rapamycin reduces behavioral seizures and temporarily keeps Kv1.1 levels elevated. Overtime, seizure activity increases and Kv1.1 protein decreases in all animals, even those treated with rapamycin. Notably, the concentration of miR-129-5p, the negative regulator of Kv1.1 mRNA translation, increases by 21days post-status epilepticus (SE), sustaining Kv1.1 mRNA translational repression. Our results suggest that following kainic-acid induced status epilepticus there are two phases of Kv1.1 repression: (1) an initial mTOR-dependent repression of Kv1.1 that is followed by (2) a miR-129-5p persistent reduction of Kv1.1.
Darrin H Brager and Daniel Johnston. 2014. “Channelopathies and dendritic dysfunction in fragile X syndrome..” Brain research bulletin, 103, Pp. 11–17. Publisher's Version Abstract
Dendritic spine abnormalities and the metabotropic glutamate receptor theory put the focus squarely on synapses and protein synthesis as the cellular locus of fragile X syndrome. Synapses however, are only partly responsible for information processing in neuronal networks. Neurotransmitter triggered excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSPs) are shaped and integrated by dendritic voltage-gated ion channels. These EPSPs, and in some cases the resultant dendritic spikes, are further modified by dendritic voltage-gated ion channels as they propagate to the soma. If the resultant somatic depolarization is large enough, action potential(s) will be triggered and propagate both orthodromically down the axon, where it may trigger neurotransmitter release, and antidromically back into the dendritic tree, where it can activate and modify dendritic voltage-gated and receptor activated ion channels. Several channelopathies, both soma-dendritic (L-type calcium channels, Slack potassium channels, h-channels, A-type potassium channels) and axo-somatic (BK channels and delayed rectifier potassium channels) were identified in the fmr1-/y mouse model of fragile X syndrome. Pathological function of these channels will strongly influence the excitability of individual neurons as well as overall network function. In this chapter we discuss the role of voltage-gated ion channels in neuronal processing and describe how identified channelopathies in models of fragile X syndrome may play a role in dendritic pathophysiology.
Brandy N Routh, Daniel Johnston, and Darrin H Brager. 2013. “Loss of Functional A-Type Potassium Channels in the Dendrites of CA1 Pyramidal Neurons from a Mouse Model of Fragile X Syndrome..” Journal of Neuroscience, 33, 50, Pp. 19442–19450. Publisher's Version Abstract
Despite the critical importance of voltage-gated ion channels in neurons, very little is known about their functional properties in Fragile X syndrome: the most common form of inherited cognitive impairment. Using three complementary approaches, we investigated the physiological role of A-type K(+) currents (IKA) in hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons from fmr1-/y mice. Direct measurement of IKA using cell-attached patch-clamp recordings revealed that there was significantly less IKA in the dendrites of CA1 neurons from fmr1-/y mice. Interestingly, the midpoint of activation for A-type K(+) channels was hyperpolarized for fmr1-/y neurons compared with wild-type, which might partially compensate for the lower current density. Because of the rapid time course for recovery from steady-state inactivation, the dendritic A-type K(+) current in CA1 neurons from both wild-type and fmr1-/y mice is likely mediated by KV4 containing channels. The net effect of the differences in IKA was that back-propagating action potentials had larger amplitudes producing greater calcium influx in the distal dendrites of fmr1-/y neurons. Furthermore, CA1 pyramidal neurons from fmr1-/y mice had a lower threshold for LTP induction. These data suggest that loss of IKA in hippocampal neurons may contribute to dendritic pathophysiology in Fragile X syndrome.
Darrin H Brager, Alan S Lewis, Dane M Chetkovich, and Daniel Johnston. 2013. “Short- and long-term potentiation in CA1 neurons from mice lacking the h-channel auxiliary subunit TRIP8b..” Journal of neurophysiology. Publisher's Version Abstract
Hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide gated non-selective cation channels (HCN or h channels) are important regulators of neuronal physiology contributing to passive membrane properties, such as resting membrane potential and input resistance, and to intrinsic oscillatory activity and synaptic integration. The correct membrane targeting of h-channels is regulated in part by the auxiliary h-channel protein TRIP8b. The genetic deletion of TRIP8b results in a loss of functional h channels, which affects the postsynaptic integrative properties of neurons. We investigated the impact of TRIP8b deletion on long-term potentiation at the two major excitatory inputs to CA1 pyramidal neurons: Schaffer collateral (SC) and perforant path (PP). We found that SC LTP was not significantly different between neurons from wildtype and TRIP8b knockout mice. There was however, significantly more short-term potentiation in knockout neurons. We also found that the persistent increase in h current (Ih) that normally occurs following LTP induction was absent in knockout neurons. The lack of Ih plasticity was not restricted to activity-dependent induction, because the depletion of intracellular calcium stores also failed to produce the expected increase in Ih. Interestingly, pairing of SC and PP inputs resulted in a form of LTP in knockout neurons that did not occur in wildtype neurons. These results suggest that physiological impact of TRIP8b deletion are not restricted to the integrative properties of neurons but also include both synaptic and intrinsic plasticity.
Darrin H Brager, Arvin R Akhavan, and Daniel Johnston. 2012. “Impaired dendritic expression and plasticity of h-channels in the fmr1(-/y) mouse model of fragile X syndrome..” Cell Reports, 1, 3, Pp. 225–233. Publisher's Version Abstract
Despite extensive research into both synaptic and morphological changes, surprisingly little is known about dendritic function in fragile X syndrome (FXS). We found that the dendritic input resistance of CA1 neurons was significantly lower in fmr1(-/y) versus wild-type mice. Consistent with elevated dendritic I(h), voltage sag, rebound, and resonance frequency were significantly higher and temporal summation was lower in the dendrites of fmr1(-/y) mice. Dendritic expression of the h-channel subunit HCN1, but not HCN2, was higher in the CA1 region of fmr1(-/y) mice. Interestingly, whereas mGluR-mediated persistent decreases in I(h) occurred in both wildtype and fmr1(-/y) mice, persistent increases in I(h) that occurred after LTP induction in wild-type mice were absent in fmr1(-/y) mice. Thus, chronic upregulation of dendritic I(h) in conjunction with impairment of homeostatic h-channel plasticity represents a dendritic channelopathy in this model of mental retardation and may provide a mechanism for the cognitive impairment associated with FXS.
Alan S Lewis, Sachin P Vaidya, Cory A Blaiss, Zhiqiang Liu, Travis R Stoub, Darrin H Brager, Xiangdong Chen, Roland A Bender, Chad M Estep, Andrey B Popov, Catherine E Kang, Paul P Van Veldhoven, Douglas A Bayliss, Daniel A Nicholson, Craig M Powell, Daniel Johnston, and Dane M Chetkovich. 2011. “Deletion of the Hyperpolarization-Activated Cyclic Nucleotide-Gated Channel Auxiliary Subunit TRIP8b Impairs Hippocampal Ih Localization and Function and Promotes Antidepressant Behavior in Mice..” The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 31, 20, Pp. 7424–7440. Publisher's Version Abstract
Output properties of neurons are greatly shaped by voltage-gated ion channels, whose biophysical properties and localization within axodendritic compartments serve to significantly transform the original input. The hyperpolarization-activated current, I(h), is mediated by hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated (HCN) channels and plays a fundamental role in influencing neuronal excitability by regulating both membrane potential and input resistance. In neurons such as cortical and hippocampal pyramidal neurons, the subcellular localization of HCN channels plays a critical functional role, yet mechanisms controlling HCN channel trafficking are not fully understood. Because ion channel function and localization are often influenced by interacting proteins, we generated a knock-out mouse lacking the HCN channel auxiliary subunit, tetratricopeptide repeat-containing Rab8b-interacting protein (TRIP8b). Eliminating expression of TRIP8b dramatically reduced I(h) expression in hippocampal pyramidal neurons. Loss of I(h)-dependent membrane voltage properties was attributable to reduction of HCN channels on the neuronal surface, and there was a striking disruption of the normal expression pattern of HCN channels in pyramidal neuron dendrites. In heterologous cells and neurons, absence of TRIP8b increased HCN subunit targeting to and degradation by lysosomes. Mice lacking TRIP8b demonstrated motor learning deficits and enhanced resistance to multiple tasks of behavioral despair with high predictive validity for antidepressant efficacy. We observed similar resistance to behavioral despair in distinct mutant mice lacking HCN1 or HCN2. These data demonstrate that interaction with the auxiliary subunit TRIP8b is a major mechanism underlying proper expression of HCN channels and I(h) in vivo, and suggest that targeting I(h) may provide a novel approach to treatment of depression.
Minyoung Shin, Darrin Brager, Thomas C Jaramillo, Daniel Johnston, and Dane M Chetkovich. 2008. “Mislocalization of h channel subunits underlies h channelopathy in temporal lobe epilepsy..” Neurobiology of disease, 32, 1, Pp. 26–36. Publisher's Version Abstract
Many animal models of temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) begin with status epilepticus (SE) followed by a latency period. Increased hippocampal pyramidal neuron excitability may contribute to seizures in TLE. I(h), mediated by h channels, regulates intrinsic membrane excitability by modulating synaptic integration and dampening dendritic calcium signaling. In a rat model of TLE, we found bidirectional changes in h channel function in CA1 pyramidal neurons. 1-2 d after SE, before onset of spontaneous seizures, physiological parameters dependent upon h channels were augmented and h channel subunit surface expression was increased. 28-30 d following SE, after onset of spontaneous seizures, h channel function in dendrites was reduced, coupled with diminished h channel subunit surface expression and relocalization of subunits from distal dendrites to soma. These results implicate h channel localization as a molecular mechanism influencing CA1 excitability in TLE.
Darrin H Brager and Daniel Johnston. 2007. “Plasticity of intrinsic excitability during long-term depression is mediated through mGluR-dependent changes in I(h) in hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons..” The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 27, 51, Pp. 13926–13937. Publisher's Version Abstract
Bidirectional changes in synaptic strength are the proposed cellular correlate for information storage in the brain. Plasticity of intrinsic excitability, however, may also be critical for regulating the firing of neurons during mnemonic tasks. We demonstrated previously that the induction long-term potentiation was accompanied by a persistent decrease in CA1 pyramidal neuron excitability (Fan et al., 2005). We show here that induction of long-term depression (LTD) by 3 Hz pairing of back-propagating action potentials with Schaffer collateral EPSPs was accompanied by an overall increase in CA1 neuronal excitability. This increase was observed as an increase in the number of action potentials elicited by somatic current injection and was caused by an increase in neuronal input resistance. After LTD, voltage sag during hyperpolarizing current injections and subthreshold resonance frequency were decreased. All changes were blocked by ZD7288 (4-ethylphenylamino-1,2-dimethyl-6-methylaminopyrimidinium chloride), suggesting that a physiological loss of dendritic h-channels was responsible for the increase in excitability. Furthermore, block of group 1 metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) or protein kinase C prevented the increase in excitability, whereas the group 1 mGluR agonist DHPG [(RS)-3,5-dihydroxyphenylglycine] mimicked the effects. We conclude that 3 Hz synaptic stimulation downregulates I(h) via activation of group 1 mGluRs and subsequent stimulation of protein kinase C. We propose these changes as part of a homeostatic and bidirectional control mechanism for intrinsic excitability during learning.
Yuan Fan, Desdemona Fricker, Darrin H Brager, Xixi Chen, Hui-Chen Lu, Raymond A Chitwood, and Daniel Johnston. 2005. “Activity-dependent decrease of excitability in rat hippocampal neurons through increases in I(h)..” Nature neuroscience, 8, 11, Pp. 1542–1551. Publisher's Version Abstract
Hippocampal long-term potentiation (LTP) induced by theta-burst pairing of Schaffer collateral inputs and postsynaptic firing is associated with localized increases in synaptic strength and dendritic excitability. Using the same protocol, we now demonstrate a decrease in cellular excitability that was blocked by the h-channel blocker ZD7288. This decrease was also induced by postsynaptic theta-burst firing alone, yet it was blocked by NMDA receptor antagonists, postsynaptic Ca2+ chelation, low concentrations of tetrodotoxin, omega-conotoxin MVIIC, calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) inhibitors and a protein synthesis inhibitor. Increasing network activity with high extracellular K+ caused a similar reduction of cellular excitability and an increase in h-channel HCN1 protein. We propose that backpropagating action potentials open glutamate-bound NMDA receptors, resulting in an increase in I(h) and a decrease in overall excitability. The occurrence of such a reduction in cellular excitability in parallel with synaptic potentiation would be a negative feedback mechanism to normalize neuronal output firing and thus promote network stability.
Thomas Heinbockel, Darrin H Brager, Christian G Reich, Jun Zhao, Sukumaran Muralidharan, Bradley E Alger, and Joseph PY Kao. 2005. “Endocannabinoid signaling dynamics probed with optical tools..” The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 25, 41, Pp. 9449–9459. Publisher's Version Abstract
Intercellular signaling dynamics critically influence the functional roles that the signals can play. Small lipids are synthesized and released from neurons, acting as intercellular signals in regulating neurotransmitter release, modulating ion channels on target cells, and modifying synaptic plasticity. The repertoire of biological effects of lipids such as endocannabinoids (eCBs) is rapidly expanding, yet lipid signaling dynamics have not been studied. The eCB system constitutes a powerful tool for bioassaying the dynamics of lipid signaling. The eCBs are synthesized in, and released from, postsynaptic somatodendritic domains that are readily accessible to whole-cell patch electrodes. The dramatic effects of these lipid signals are detected electrophysiologically as CB1-dependent alterations in conventional synaptic transmission, which therefore serve as a sensitive reporter of eCB actions. We used electrophysiological recording, photolytic release of caged glutamate and a newly developed caged AEA (anandamide), together with rapid [Ca2+]i measurements, to investigate the dynamics of retrograde eCB signaling between CA1 pyramidal cells and GABAergic synapses in rat hippocampus in vitro. We show that, at 22 degrees C, eCB synthesis and release must occur within 75-190 ms after the initiating stimulus, almost an order of magnitude faster than previously thought. At 37 degrees C, the time could be < 50 ms. Activation of CB1 and downstream processes constitute a significant fraction of the total delay and are identified as major rate-limiting steps in retrograde signaling. Our findings imply that lipid messenger dynamics are comparable with those of metabotropic neurotransmitters and can modulate neuronal interactions on a similarly fast time scale.
Darrin H Brager, Xiang Cai, and Scott M Thompson. 2003. “Activity-dependent activation of presynaptic protein kinase C mediates post-tetanic potentiation..” Nature neuroscience, 6, 6, Pp. 551–552. Publisher's Version Abstract
Vesicle exocytosis is mediated by the complex interaction between synaptic vesicle and plasma membrane proteins, many of which are substrates for protein kinases. Exogenous protein kinase activators increase release probability at several mammalian CNS synapses, but the physiological conditions under which presynaptic protein kinases become activated are not known. We report here that calcium/phospholipid-dependent protein kinase C (PKC) is activated by high-frequency stimulation and mediates post-tetanic potentiation (PTP) in the rat hippocampus.
Darrin H Brager and Scott M Thompson. 2003. “Activity-dependent release of adenosine contributes to short-term depression at CA3-CA1 synapses in rat hippocampus..” Journal of neurophysiology, 89, 1, Pp. 22–26. Publisher's Version Abstract
High-frequency stimulation results in a transient, presynaptically mediated decrease in synaptic efficacy called short-term depression (STD). Stimulation of Schaffer-collateral axons at 10 Hz for 5 s resulted in approximately 75% depression of excitatory postsynaptic current (EPSC) slope recorded from CA1 cells in rat organotypic slice cultures. An adenosine A(1) receptor antagonist decreased the magnitude of STD elicited with 10-Hz stimulation by approximately 30%. The A(1) receptor antagonist had no effect on STD elicited with 3-Hz stimulation. The activation of A(1) receptors during 10-Hz stimulation was not due to the extracellular conversion of released ATP to adenosine, because block of 5'-ectonucleotidases did not significantly affect STD. The adenosine transport inhibitor dipyridamole did not reduce STD, indicating that adenosine was not released by facilitated transport. We conclude that 10-Hz, but not 3-Hz, stimulation causes the vesicular release of adenosine and the rapid (<3 s) activation of presynaptic inhibitory A(1) receptors, which account for approximately 40% of homosynaptic EPSC depression.
Darrin H Brager, Paul W Luther, Ferenc Erdélyi, Gabor Szabó, and Bradley E Alger. 2003. “Regulation of exocytosis from single visualized GABAergic boutons in hippocampal slices..” The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 23, 33, Pp. 10475–10486. Publisher's Version Abstract
Regulation of GABA release is crucial for normal brain functioning, and GABAA-mediated IPSCs are strongly influenced by repetitive stimulation and neuromodulation. However, GABA exocytosis has not been examined directly in organized tissue. Important issues remain outside the realm of electrophysiological techniques or are complicated by postsynaptic factors. For example, it is not known whether all presynaptic modulators affect release from all boutons in the same way, or whether modulator effects depend on the presence of certain types of voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs). To address such issues, we used confocal imaging and styryl dyes to monitor exocytosis from identified GABAergic boutons in organotypic hippocampal slice cultures. Repetitively evoked IPSCs declined more rapidly and completely than exocytosis, suggesting that depletion of filled vesicles cannot fully account for IPSC depression and underscoring the usefulness of directly imaging exocytosis. Stimulation at 10 Hz produced a transient facilitation of exocytosis that was dependent on L-type VGCCs. Using specific toxins, we found that release mediated via N-type and P-type VGCCs had similar properties. Neither baclofen nor a cannabinoid receptor agonist, CP55940, affected all boutons uniformly; they slowed release from some but completely prevented detectable release from others. Increasing stimulus frequency overcame this blockade of release. However, baclofen and CP55940 did not act identically, because only baclofen reduced facilitation and affected bouton releasing via P/Q-type VGCCs. Direct observation thus revealed novel features of GABAergic exocytosis and its regulation that would have been difficult or impossible to detect electrophysiologically. These features advance the understanding of the regulation of synapses and networks by presynaptic inhibition.
Namita Varma, Darrin Brager, Wade Morishita, Robert A Lenz, Barry London, and Bradley Alger. 2002. “Presynaptic factors in the regulation of DSI expression in hippocampus..” Neuropharmacology, 43, 4, Pp. 550–562. Publisher's Version Abstract
We studied the mechanisms by which GABA release is reduced in the retrograde signaling process called depolarization-induced suppression of inhibition (DSI). DSI is mediated by endocannabinoids in acute and cultured organotypic hippocampal slices. We examined a variety of K(+) channel antagonists to determine the nature of the K(+) channel that, when blocked, reduces DSI. Among 4-AP, TEA, dendrotoxin, Cs, margatoxin, and charybdotoxin, only 4-AP was highly effective in blocking DSI, suggesting that a K(+) channel composed in part of K(V1.4,) K(V1.5) or K(V1.7) subunits can readily regulate DSI. The inhibition of DSI by 4-AP is largely overcome by reducing [Ca(2+)](o), however, suggesting that DSI expression can be prevented by saturation of the release process when a K(V1.X) channel is inhibited. DSI of agatoxin- and TTX-insensitive mIPSCs was unaffected by 4-AP, but was largely occluded by omega-conotoxin GVIA, indicating that block of presynaptic N-type Ca(2+) channels is probably a major mechanism of DSI expression. Significant DSI of mIPSCs remained in omega-conotoxin, hence we infer that block of N-channels does not fully explain hippocampal DSI expression.
Darrin H Brager, Marco Capogna, and Scott M Thompson. 2002. “Short-term synaptic plasticity, simulation of nerve terminal dynamics, and the effects of protein kinase C activation in rat hippocampus..” The Journal of Physiology, 541, Pt 2, Pp. 545–559. Publisher's Version Abstract
Phorbol esters are hypothesised to produce a protein kinase C (PKC)-dependent increase in the probability of transmitter release via two mechanisms: facilitation of vesicle fusion or increases in synaptic vesicle number and replenishment. We used a combination of electrophysiology and computer simulation to distinguish these possibilities. We constructed a stochastic model of the presynaptic contacts between a pair of hippocampal pyramidal cells that used biologically realistic processes and was constrained by electrophysiological data. The model reproduced faithfully several forms of short-term synaptic plasticity, including short-term synaptic depression (STD), and allowed us to manipulate several experimentally inaccessible processes. Simulation of an increase in the size of the readily releasable vesicle pool and the time of vesicle replenishment decreased STD, whereas simulation of a facilitation of vesicle fusion downstream of Ca(2+) influx enhanced STD. Because activation of protein kinase C with phorbol ester enhanced STD of EPSCs in rat hippocampal slice cultures, we conclude that an increase in the sensitivity of the release process for Ca(2+) underlies the potentiation of neurotransmitter release by PKC.
The proteins calbindin-D(28K) and calretinin buffer intracellular calcium and are speculated to be involved in the integration of neuronal signaling. Using Western blot analysis, we compared the levels of calbindin-D(28K) and calretinin in the developing male and female rat hypothalamus on postnatal days (PN) 0, PN2, PN4, PN6, PN8, and PN10. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) of mean calbindin levels indicated a significant effect of sex (p